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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Lezlie Amara Piper


abstract painting of white fungal threads in front of a rich blue background
watercolor and acrylic on clay board
6″ × 6″

She Needs A Little Rest

Painting of a female figure on a light pink background. The figure is curled up and the shape is filled with water, vegetation and animals to represent the Earth.
acrylic on canvas board
9″ × 12″

Imaginary Constellations

Painting of a blue background with dots and constellations in white. Some constellations are abstract while others evoke animal shapes.
watercolor and acrylic on clay board
6″ × 6″

Where Will The Children Play

Textured abstract painting of silhouettes of children playing with a ball on a dirty white background
acrylic on paper
8″ × 8″

Embracing Emptiness Use This to Cross the River

Collage of a sketched woman on white paper over a dark background. The paper has cut out text snippets sewn to it with white thread.
mixed media
13″ × 15″

The theme of this issue is deeply important, personal and of the moment for me as Art (yes, with a capital) and all of her processes are perhaps my strongest healing modality. When all else is topsy-turvy, Art is a steady medicine for me.

I am currently healing from a complex brain injury that influences my ability to read, walk, exercise, communicate, be in a noisy place, drive, use a computer, be in the sun, etc., and Art is a spiritually, physically, and emotionally, soothing activity. The experience of making Art for me is very similar to that of being in nature. When making Art, I often step out of the left brain of judgements, constrictions, linear thinking, and activities and into the present moment of the right brain of sensing, feeling, and a realm where the magic of regeneration and re-patterning is real. It is a oneness very similar to meditation. In this process of healing, I have many moments of feeling lost. The act of making art very concretely soothes my nervous system and increases my ability to perform tasks. It quite literally creates new neural pathways that heal the damage caused by head trauma. It helps not to “find me” but to remind me I am already found, despite the loss of parts of me that may never return.

When I am not making art to heal, I am making art to explore, taste, feel, and revel in, and aside from my selfish desires, I seek to share that experience with others or at least invite the viewer/experiencer to be opened into a deeper sensing of their own internal, complex, and sacred, selves—if not to be transformed, then to be delighted. I have used mixed media, assemblage, and acrylic in the pieces in this issue. All of the art has been made since my head trauma in 2019. Quite honestly, the head trauma has opened new ways of seeing, and this work is the result.


Lezlie Amara Piper is an artist, writer, lover of plants, and a body worker of over 30 years. As an artist growing up in the sage lands of Eastern Idaho, and residing in the Pacific Northwest, she is most influenced by untamed nature and its systems, colors, nuances, and the natural realm that is our body. She loves working with many (and often mixed) mediums; observing landscape, painting or assembling imagery and objects to invoke the imagination. As a survivor of a traumatic brain injury, she knows firsthand that art is a medicine that crosses all barriers and changes our very being. She attended Pacific Northwest College of Art, Oregon College of Arts and Craft, The Northwest Film Study Center, and Marylhurst University.

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